Staying a cut above the competition

Newsroom 07/02/2010 | 14:29

Courage and a passion for hairstyling were the main factors in persuading ELISABETA PINTILEASA to set up her own business when she was just 23. Her ambition now is to transform HairWellness…and more into a network of beauty salons inthe large neighborhoods of Bucharest.

By Anda Dragan

Many entrepreneurs start young, but Elisabeta Pintileasa caught the bug earlier that most. The owner of beauty salon HairWellness…and more took her first steps in the business world at the tender age of 16. In those days, she used to cut her friends’ hair in her bathroom and would spend almost all her time in beauty salons where she learned the ropes from the professionals. Two years later, she got a job in a private beauty salon, and soon afterwards entered the close circuit salon system.

It was here that she came to understand the hairstylist’s trade. “When I was 23, in 2005, I set up my own beauty salon with just three employees,” remembers Pintileasa. She adds that she needed seven years of hard work in professional teams to realize what it really meant to establish her own enterprise specialized in providing beauty services.

In her opinion, professionalism and the impression she makes on her customers are key in this business. Otherwise, failure is inevitable. “I established my first beauty salon using a closed circuit system, similar to those I had worked in when I was 18. But when I decided to launch a new salon, I entered a completely new world,” says the young entrepreneur. Since 2005 she has learned how important it is to give her customers first comfort and then a high quality service. “What you are able to offer your clients really makes the difference in this market,” believes the businesswoman.

Although she had known since her girlhood that she would have her own beauty salon someday, the young entrepreneur didn’t know when she would realize the dream. “HairWellness…and more came at a time when I was sure I was mature enough as a professional, I already had the financial resources to invest in a business and I had a customer base that I could count on,” she says.

Her passion for this kind of job had a significant influence in the development of the business. “I love what I do. I love to work with my customers’ hair; I love to see how people are transformed through my work.” She adds: “I don’t believe in running a business just to make money. I believe in passion, and I think that a business succeeds only if the owner knows all the secrets of the art that their enterprise is built on. I couldn’t see myself doing anything different from what I am doing at the moment.”

In her five years of business experience, the toughest time came last year when the entrepreneur noticed that people had become more reluctant to spend their money on beauty treatments and were more cautious about their personal finances.

“First, I wondered what had happened. But then I realized that the crisis had changed all of us – it had taught us to be more prudent with money.” She said that 2009 gave her a lesson on how not to waste money on useless things.

The HairWellness…and more owner professes to have no regrets. “If something is subsequently proven to be wrong, I try to learn from it and move on,” she says. Moreover, she wouldn’t change anything apart from being more cautious over investing money. But she would never leave the business world. “I would still invest my money and feelings so my customers feel comfortable in my salon.”

Pintileasa has learned from her professional experience that challenges are enormous when working with people and their comfort and business depends on her work. She must always keep on top of the new trends in hairstyling, avoid making mistakes and live by the proverb “the customer is king.”

All of this is even more important in an overcrowded market “where everybody thought they could run a beauty salon. There are too many players both in Bucharest and around the country. I think that 2009 put an end to many of these companies and 2010 is not promising at all. Those which satisfy their customers, eschew price rises and provide high quality services will be the survivors,” says the businesswoman.

The courage she had when she opened her first beauty salon has spurred her on to set further goals. One major objective is on her agenda, despite the crisis: to transform HairWellness…and more into a beauty salon network, targeting the big neighborhoods of the capital.

“I no longer believe in those beauty salons located in central Bucharest, where there is no parking and the rent makes the owners raise the price of their services in order to cover their monthly expenses. I think that we all want to enjoy premium services in our neighborhood,” she adds.

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